Punchestown Festival 2017 Day 4 Friday

Thursday 5.00pm That pesky Robbie Super-Power is making life a little difficult for Mr Mullins! Fox Norton turning over Un de Sceaux and Sizing John chinning Djakadam has cost the King of Closutton €200K! Ruby Walsh and Patrick Mullins just can’t get in the winners enclosure, indeed of the fourteen races run so far Team Mullins has had seven seconds! So come on. Willie, Ruby, Patrick, Me and my bank manager need a BIG Thursday for Team Mullins.

Trainer Championship Gordon Elliott Total Prize Money € 4,199,030 Willie Mullins Total Prize Money € 3,922,250

With 3 Days left of the National Hunt season the Trainer Championship is going down to the wire. €1,632,500 Prize Money Remaining. 3 Days and 23 Races to end of Season. Difference is €276,780. Top price Mullins 5/2 Coral.

By the time Friday starts us Mullins fan-boys could be staring down the barrel but that won’t stop me continuing to pile into these Mullins second and third strings!

4.20 Always keen to take on Diamond King but this is certainly the easiest race he has run in for a while. I’m torn between the two Mullins/Ricci entries, Dicosimo and Arbre de Vie. Dicosimo looked like he had got his act together when comfortably winning at Thurles and on the best of his hurdles form could be thrown in here but I’m going to trust that Ruby has called it right. Arbre de Vie has been on my 2will win a handicap” list all season. Like Dicosimo he had better hurdle form and AdV is a novice over fences but his last two runs, BD and UR, were in the Irish National and the Cheltenham four miler. He could probably do with a drop of rain but this is the right trip and grade and off OR140 I think he should be competitive.

4.55 Don’t get many of these, a grade B Mares handicap chase over 2m 5f. it looks the right race for Slowmotion, just hope Ruby Walsh and Retour de France, surprisingly the only Mullins entry, can pick up a chunk of the prize money.

5.30 Absolutely gutted there is no Annie Power in this the Grade 1 BetDaq Punchestown Champion 2m Hurdle, indeed she isn’t in the Mares hurdle on Saturday and it looks like the next time we see her will be in Mothercare! With Faugheen still on the injured list Willie Mullins sends his FIVE highest rated hurdlers into battle, Arctic Fire OR162, Vroum Vroum Mag (OR152+7=159), Wicklow Brave (155), Ivan Grozny (OR153) and Diakali (153). That is serious firepower and I’m amazed Ruby has chosen the mare VVM but the one I’m going to back is Diakali. Excellent last time, now had two runs back from injury, will love the ground and back in the day won the 4yo Championship hurdle at this meeting. The Cheltenham Champion hurdle second and third, My Tent or Yours  and Petit Mouchoir, line up and I opposed them at the Festival and I’m quite happy to do so again.

6.05 The second grade 1 of the day is the 2m4f novice hurdle and this looks hot almost volcanic. From the top:-

Bacardys, Hampered at Cheltenham, top bumper, loves the ground and a Spring horse.

Bleu Berry, improving at a rate of knots, G2 winner but this is his biggest test to date.

Death Duty, Apple of Gordon Elliott’s eye, expensive flop at Cheltenham, drops back half a mile and has something to prove.

Finians Oscar, Missed Neptune through injury but scintillating at Aintree having already won the G1 Tolworth. It’s that man Power for Potts again and will be a tough nut to crack.

Kemboy, after his fifth in the Neptune at Cheltenham when he took the scenic route I really wanted to back him here but didn’t expect this stellar line up! Definitely think we are still to see the best of Kemboy and it may well be here.

Moulin a Vent, probably a tad out of his depth but he’ll like the Good ground.

Outspoken, shouldn’t be far behind Bleu Berry on the book but not showing the same improvement.

Runfordave, always looked a handicapper but a rock solid yardstick. His third to Champagne Classic in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham beaten three and a half lengths giving two pounds looks tastier after Wednesdays events.

Let’s Dance, Ruby Walsh chooses to ride her from the four Mullins entries. Hugely impressive at Cheltenham over two miles although this had seemed to be her best trip but Augusta Kate picked her up at Fairyhouse less than a fortnight ago.

The Nipper, Warren Greatrex loves her and in her youth was right up there with Labail and Yorkhill as a fruit loop but seems to have settled down winning her last three but this is a big, big step up.

At the prices it has to be Bleu Berry each way at 16/1.

 

So how do we punt this card?

4.20 Arbre de Vie                   1 star** each way      To be updated later 

5.30 Diakali                             1 star** each way      16/1 Coral     

6.05 Bleu Berry                      1 star* each way        16/1 Coral

Total = Six stars

Loving Punchestown but on Friday afternoon there is an excellent Flat card at Sandown featuring their Derby trial, ably supported by an eight card Notebook special from Doncaster. Over the course of the afternoon there are three horses I just have to back.

Those who know me well know that on the Flat I have three specialist subjects. #FantasticMrFahey, big field handicaps preferably on a straight course and my annual list of improving 3yo’s made up of 2yo’s I spotted the season before who I think could run at a Graded level. Often these 3yo’s start in handicaps and then I get excited, Monarchs Glen and Middle Kingdom have already obliged. Tomorrow there are three but I am not expecting big prices as they have sexy profiles, two are trained by my main man, Big Johnny G, and the other is for an on fire Roger Charlton.

Sandown 1.50                        ATTY PERSSE Godolphin bought this one from Benny Neilsen of Abba fame for big money, money, money. He won his only start last season over C&D “readily” and looked as smooth as silk to me. Atty Persse has entries in the Dante and the Derby, for which he is on my shortlist of five, and I can’t believe he kicks his season off in a C3 8F handicap off OR87! Roger Charlton’s stable cat would currently be an odds on poke, eight winners from the last seventeen that went to post. Atty Persse opened at 4’s earlier in the week and there is still some 3’s about.

Sandown 5.10                        GLENCADAM GLORY Love this horse. He was backed off the boards to win on debut but was simply too green and was second to Ghayyar in a Newmarket C4 8F maiden. He won on his second start in a C3 maiden over the mile at Doncaster in a race that I think will throw up a bucket load of winners, probably handicaps although the third, The Anvil, is quoted for The Derby 33’s -50’s. The main reason I love this son of Nathanial is two fold, firstly I think he will improve upped in trip and secondly he strikes me as the sort of horse that just does enough! Frankie is in the saddle and although drawn widest it is a field of only eight.

Doncaster 1.40           ELDRITCH This son of Dark Angel was professional winning on debut at Haydock in a back end 8F C4 maiden. Twice he met traffic but was still good enough to get up Dubawi Prince, who has won since. Although one other runner from further down the field has won the form hasn’t been franked and I can’t believe he goes handicapping off just OR77 as I had him down as an OR90+ horse. Surely a steering job even for Jimmy Fortune but being trained by Gosden I’m expecting skinny odds.

 

I try to keep you up to date with new trainers and here is one new to me. Their website says:-

“Tom Clover Racing is the exciting training business recently launched by Tom and his partner Jackie Jarvis.

Tom and Jackie both bring expertise, experience and enthusiasm to their enterprise which is based in Newmarket – the historic home of horseracing.

Tom – and his family – have been around horses most of their lives. He rode in point-to-points as a young man and, after gaining a diploma from the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, started out as a pupil assistant with jumps trainer Charlie Longsdon. Tom soon stepped up to assistant trainer as the operation doubled in size.

With a desire to develop his skills, he came to trainer David Simcock’s stable in Newmarket. What was meant to be a one-summer placement extended into five seasons as assistant in which Tom extensively learnt from David, who is renowned for maximising each horse’s potential.

That stint has proved the ideal grounding for launching his business with Jackie, who herself grew up in one of the most famous stables in Newmarket – Kremlin House. Her father Michael Jarvis won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the 1,000 Guineas and the Oaks among many other top prizes in the sport as Jackie witnessed first-hand all the ingredients that are required to sustain a first-class training operation.

In the latter stages of Michael’s illustrious career, Jackie played her part, riding out and helping in the office. These are roles she has continued at Kremlin as Roger Varian has become one of the biggest training businesses in British racing. Jackie has also significant knowledge of the business side of the sport, having been responsible for website development and many PR initiatives at Roger’s. Now Tom and Jackie are combining their wide range of skills with their new venture.

Tom and Jackie are delighted to be starting their venture from the historic Wroughton House Stables, based right in the heart of Newmarket. The 25-box yard is situated at the base of the world-famous ‘Warren Hill’ where trainers have exercised thoroughbreds for hundreds of years.”

Interesting. Owners include Miss K Rausing, Mr A D Spence and Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar plus quite a few partnerships.

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